Agencies Of The United States
Agencies of the United States
When World War II in Europe finally came to an end on May 7, 1945, a new
war was just beginning. The Cold War: denoting the open yet restricted rivalry
that developed between the United States and the Soviet Union and their
respective allies, a war fought on political, economic, and propaganda fronts,
with limited recourse to weapons, largely because of fear of a nuclear holocaust.
This term, The Cold War, was first used by presidential advisor Bernard Baruch
during a congressional debate in 1947. Intelligence operations dominating this
war have been conducted by the Soviet State Security Service (KGB) and the
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), representing the two power blocs, East and
West respectively, that arose from the aftermath of World War II. Both have
conducted a variety of operations from large scale military intervention and
subversion to covert spying and surveillance missions. They have known success
and failure. The Bay of Pigs debacle was soon followed by Kennedy’s deft
handling of the Cuban missile crisis. The decisions he made were helped
immeasurably by intelligence gathered from reconnaissance photos of the high
altitude plane U-2. In understanding these agencies today I will show you how
these agencies came about, discuss past and present operations, and talk about
some of their tools of the trade.
Origin of the CIA and KGB
The CIA was a direct result of American intelligence operations during
World War II. President Franklin D. Roosevelt recognized the need to coordinate
intelligence to protect the interests of the United States. In 1941, he
appointed William J. Donovan to the head of the Office of Strategic Services
(OSS) with headquarters in London. Four departments made up the OSS: Support,
Secretariat, Planning, and Overseas Missions. Each of these departments directed
an array of sections known as ‘operation groups’. This organization had fallen
into the disfavor of many involved in the federal administration at this time.
This included the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), J.
Edgar Hoover, who did not like competition from a rival intelligence
organization. With the death of Roosevelt in April of 1945, the OSS was
disbanded under Truman and departments were either relocated or completely
Soviet intelligence began with the formation of the Cheka, secret police,
under Feliks Dzerzhinsky at the time of the revolution. By 1946, this agency had
evolved into the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD), and the Ministry of State
Security (MGB) both ruled by Lavrenti Beria. This man was undoubtedly the most
powerful man in the Soviet Union with a vast empire of prison camps, and
informants to crush any traces of dissent. Of considerable importance to Beria
was the race for the atomic bomb. The Soviet Union and the United States both
plundered the German V-2 rocket sites for materials and personnel. In 1946 the
MVD was responsible for the rounding up of 6000 scientists from the Soviet zone
of Germany and taking them and their dependents to the Soviet Union.
The political conflicts of the 1930’s and World War II left many
educated people with the impression that only communism could combat economic
depression and fascism. It was easy for Soviet agents to recruit men who would
later rise to positions of power with access to sensitive information. ‘Atom
spies’ were well positioned to keep the Soviets informed of every American
development on the bomb. Of considerable importance was a man by the name of
Klaus Fuchs, a German communist who fled Hitler’s purge and whose ability as a
nuclear physicist earned him a place on the Manhattan Project. Fuchs passed
information to the Soviets beginning in 1941, and was not arrested until 1950.
Also passing secrets to the Soviets were Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, executed in
the United States in 1953. The latter two were probably among the first who
believed in nuclear deterrence, whereby neither country would use nuclear
weapons because the other would use his in response, therefore there would be no
possible winner. It is generally believed that with such scientists as Andrei
Sakharov, the Soviets were capable of working it out for themselves without the
help of intelligence.
(better transition) The National Security Act of 1947 gave birth to the
CIA, and in 1949 the CIA Act was formally passed. “The act exempted the CIA from
all Federal laws that required the disclosure of ‘functions, names, official
titles, and salaries or number of personnel employed by the agency’. The
director was awarded staggering powers, including the right to ‘spend money
without regard to the provisions of law and regulations relating to the
expenditure of government funds’. The act also allowed the director to bring in
100 aliens a year secretly.” The 1949 charter is essentially the same one that
the CIA uses to carry out covert operations today.
The U-2 Incident
In 1953, the CIA contracted Lockheed Aircraft Corporation of Burbank CA
to build a plane that would go higher and farther than any yet produced. Kelly
Johnson came up with the design for the U-2, a plane that would fly with a
record high ceiling of 90,000 ft. and a range of 4,000 ft. The U-2 flights are
possibly the greatest triumph achieved by the CIA since its founding. This is
because of the planes success at evading detection for such a long time and the
vast amounts of information gathered. “We’ll never be able to match that one.
Those flights were intelligence work on a mass production basis.”
On the fateful day of May 1, 1960, Gary Powers was sent up in his U-2
over the Soviet Union from the United States Air Force Base at Peshawar,
Pakistan. His mission was to photograph areas of military and economic
signifigance and record radio transmissions. The plane he flew was equipped with
cameras, radio receivers and tape recorders to accomplish this mission. In
addition to these devices, the plane was also equipped with self destruction
capabilities to blow up the U-2 if it was forced to land, and a blasting
mechanism fitted to the tape recorder to destroy any evidence of the CIA’s
monitoring of radio signals. As his plane flew over the Soviet Union, the
cameras recorded ammunition depots, oil storage installations, the number and
type of aircraft at military airports, and electric transmission lines. When the
plane did not return to its base after a reasonable allowance of time, it was
assumed it had crashed for some reason or another.
The circumstances surrounding the crash of the plane Powers flew on this
is a still a mystery today, depending on whether you believe the Soviets or the
Americans. The Soviets claim that “in view of the fact that this was a case of
the deliberate invasion of Soviet airspace with hostile aggressive intent, the
Soviet Government gave orders to shoot down the plane”, and that they shot it
out of the air with an SA-2 missile at 8:53 A.M. at the altitude of 68,000 ft.
The Americans declared that the U-2 was disabled by a flameout in its jet engine.
Whatever the truth maybe, or combination of truths, the fact remains that Powers
survived the encounter by parachute in the vicinity of Sverdlovsk. Upon landing,
he was apprehended, disarmed, and escorted to the security police by four
residents of the small town.
The fault of the incident lay with the American administration’s
handling of the situation, not with the flight itself. It was assumed that
Powers had died in the crash, and this was the mistake. The initial story
released was not widely reported and only told of a missing pilot near the
Soviet border who’s oxygen equipment was out of order. “From an intelligence
point of view, the original cover story seemed to be particularly inept… A
cover story has certain requirements. It must be credible. It must be a story
that can be maintained no live pilots knocking about and it should not have
too much detail. Anything that’s missing in a cover story can be taken care of
by saying the matter is being investigated.”
The further lies the State Department released about the incident only
strained U.S. and Soviet relations. These included reports of an unarmed weather
research plane, piloted by a civilian, that had trouble with oxygen equipment
going down over the Soviet Union. Under questioning by the press, Information
Officer, Walt Bonney, admitted that the U-2 had cameras aboard, but they were
not reconnaissance cameras. Rather, the cameras were “to take cloud cover”.
When it became publicly known that Khrushchev had known what had taken place all
along and had known for some years, President Eisenhower justified the presence
of a spy plane over the Soviet Union with it being “in the interest of the free
world.” Khrushchev saw through the ploy and revoked his invitation for
Eisenhower to visit the Soviet Union for a summit.
Bay of Pigs
By 1959, Fidel Castro and his rebels were able to establish their own
regime in Cuba. Americans soon became hostile to this new government when it
became apparent that Castro endorsed the Soviets. He declared his intentions of
supporting guerrilla movements against US backed dictatorships throughout Latin
America and seized US assets in Cuba. He also established friendly relations
with the Soviet Union although he was not communist. The US recognized this
threat to their interests and proceeded to form a special CIA task force that
was create an armed force of exiled Cubans, form a subversive organizations
within Cuba, and if possible assassinate Castro.
The initial plan was to discredit the charismatic man in front of his
nation. Some ideas that were considered to accomplish the task were ludicrous in
the least. The first was to spray Cuban TV studios with LSD prior to Castro
broadcasting a speech in hopes of him making a complete fool of himself. The
agency had been experimenting with the acid for some time. However, the idea was
quickly abandoned because no one could guarantee with any certainty that the
drug would have the desired effect. Further attempts were stabs at the look of
Castro himself. One idea was to doctor his famous insignia, the cigars he is
always seen with. This idea was discontinued because no one could figure out how
to get the cigars to him. From an angle of more a chemical nature, the agency
planned at one time to make his beard fall out. Scientists at the agency knew
that when thallium salts contact skin, they act as a depilatory and make hair
fall out. The idea goes further into reasoning that when Castro traveled he
would leave his shoes outside of his hotel bedroom and the salts could be
sprinkled in then. This idea became impossible when Castro announced that all
forthcoming foreign trips were to be cancelled. With these failures, the US felt
that it had no choice but to continue with the organization of partisans and
help them usurp the dictatorship of Cuba.
By the time John F. Kennedy was elected President in 1960, the
development of the invasion was already in full force. Eisenhower had earmarked
$13 million and a force of 1300 men had been assembled. Cuban pilots were being
trained how to fly B-26 bombers by National Guardsmen. The operation was massive,
enough so that the public took notice. Kennedy was extremely wary of any direct
US involvement and set about a series of compromises for the Cuban exiles. The
air cover was reduced and the landings were shifted from a more favorable site
to the Bay of Pigs where it was determined that the landing force could get
ashore with a minimum of naval and air force back up.
Escorted by US naval vessels, the force landed in the Bay of Pigs on
April 17, 1961. The six B-26s assigned to the operation were clearly inadequate
and the support from within the country never fully materialized. Completely
exposed to counterattacks of the Cuban air and land forces, the whole invasion
force was either killed or taken prisoner.
When Kennedy’s statement that “the armed forces of this country would
not intervene in any way” was an outright lie. The exiles uses American
equipment. They were trained by American servicemen, and the planes flown were
Americans. The ships that carried the men to the invasion were American, with
American naval units for support. Americans were killed in operation. When
caught in his lie, Kennedy was forced to cover the US by extending the Monroe
Doctrine to cover communism. He declared that the US would remain free of all
Central and Latin American affair as long as they were not communist. This
fiasco undoubtedly led to Khrushchev’s belief that he could deploy missiles to
his newfound ally without any tangible reprisal from the Americans.
Practices of Spies
Some of the devices used seem to come straight from a James Bond movie.
Hollow rings or talcum powder cans with false bottoms were some of the items
used for hiding microfilm. An interesting method involves the use of a microdot
whereby pages of information is reduced to the size of a colon and used in an
appropriate place on a document. The process is reversed for the extraction of
information and the dot is enlarged to display all the information. Hiding
places for secret packages were imaginative to say the least and ranged from
trees, to ruined walls, to mail boxes.
Listening devices were not restricted to telephone bugs, and on one
occasion there was a handcarved Great Seal of the United States presented to the
US ambassador in Moscow by the Soviet Union. It turned out that hidden inside
was a listening device. Microwave receivers exist all over the world for the
interception of messages, the Soviet embassy in San Francisco has its own
battery of dishes erected on top of its building.
In 1978, a Bulgarian exile by the name Georgi Markov who was working for
the Radio Free Europe was fatally poisoned with a pellet most likely hidden in
an umbrella. Vladimir Kostov was killed under very similar circumstances in 1978,
and it is believed that the toxin used was ricin. This is an extremely toxic
substance derived from castor oil. Political and intelligence related
assassinations have abounded in the twentieth century with the advent of the
Cold War. The public will never know when one of murders takes place by reason
of secrecy unless it is a public figure.
The agencies discussed above are integral to the peace that exists today.
There is no other way in the age we live in today to monitor the enemy and ally
alike so as to be able to understand their capabilities and shortcomings without
intelligence agencies. The CIA and KGB by themselves cannot assure peace. With
the knowledge supplied by each to its leaders, intelligent decisions can be made
in the world’s best interest. Moreover, the status quo and power base remains
relatively stable with the East and West on opposing sides. There can never be
true and utterly complete peace, these organizations will continue to exist
contrary ignorant ideals of the public for peaceful coexistence.
Encyclopedia Britannia index page 237
KGB/CIA, Jonathon Bloch page 12
KGB/CIA, Jonathon Bloch page 21
CIA: The Inside Story, Andrew Tully page 113
CIA: The Inside Story, Andrew Tully page 119
General Thomas R. Phillips, U.S. Army, retired.
Bay of Pigs, Peter Wyden page 59